Eleven new emergency medicine facilities will be opened in Israel's periphery throughout 2012 Ynet learned on Thursday. The first cities to benefit from the initiative will be Dimona and Yeruham in the south and Kiryat Shmona in the north.
Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman (United Torah Judaism), orchestrated the initiative with hope of assisting residents of Israel's remote areas, whose access to proper emergency medical care is limited due to their distance from large hospitals and medical facilities.
This issue becomes especially grave during the winter, when the occupancy level at hospitals rises above the regulated norm.
"The initiative will be implemented in several cities such as Katzrin, Umm al-Fahm, Mitzpe Ramon, Arad and the Central Arava Regional Council," said David Hugi, who serves as an advisor to the National Emergency Authority for medical services.
Both local authorities and Israel's health maintenance organization (HMO) have taken a leading role in the initiative by allotting specific structures for the new centers.
The project's cost is estimated at NIS 15 million (about $4.05 million).
During initial stages the centers will be partly funded by the Health Ministry and will be active for five years. Subsequently, the funding will be reevaluated. All centers will hold emergency and life-saving equipment and supplies. The medical team at the centers will consist of a general practitioner and emergency care and internal medicine specialists.
"The goal is to add other cities to the project by 2013. The requirements we consider to be important when considering another emergency centers are the cities distance from the closest emergency room and the access to existing medical centers," Hugi added.